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Nomzamo: Another night out in the cold

Hundreds of informal settlers endured another night in the cold after being evicted by Sanral.

A child carries a table on her head after police dismantled her family's house during a mass eviction in Nomzamo near Strand in Cape Town on 3 June 2014. Picture: Carmel Loggenberg/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Community halls in Strand, just outside Cape Town, will try to accommodate hundreds of evicted Nomzamo residents for the next week.

Dozens of shacks have been demolished in the area over the past two days, leaving hundreds of people destitute.

Earlier this week, authorities acting on a court order moved into the area to evict people who were occupying a privately-owned piece of land illegally.

A woman weeps after her shack was destroyed by fire as police carried out mass evictions.

The court order was granted to the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) earlier this year.

Sanral plans to build a road on the land.

A shack caught fire as police continued with the mass evictions.

Human Settlements Deputy Minister Zou Kota-Fredericks, who kept the Nomzamo community waiting for several hours on Tuesday, says while the eviction has been halted, government and the City of Cape Town need to work together to find a long term solution.

"What we are happy with is a decision to halt the evictions because if we do not provide alternative accommodation, we make it difficult for our people to know what shelter is going to be."

Tensions broke out in Nomzamo as residents fought to avoid eviction.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, who also visited the area, says she is particularly concerned about the women and children in the community.

The National Transport Department has criticised Sanral for carrying out evictions in the informal settlement.

The department's Tiyani Rikhotso says it's disappointed with the road agency's decision.

"We have raised those reservations and our unhappiness with Sanral. The minister has engaged with both the board of Sanral and the executive management and she has indicated how unhappy she is, as a result of a decision that looks heartless and insensitive."

Police monitor the area after tensions broke out in Nomzamo informal settlement.

WATCH: Cape evictions leave hundreds homeless

Meanwhile, the city's Disaster Risk Management on Tuesday evening registered hundreds of mothers and their children at a local community hall, so that they could be provided with food and blankets.

NGOS RALLY BEHIND SQUATTERS

A number of local non-government organisations (NGOs) have rallied behind informal settlers in Nomzamo.

Organisations are collecting food, blankets & clothing, along with other necessities.

At least three community halls in Strand have also been made available to accommodate the evicted locals over the next few days.

Michel Hansrod from the Methodist Church of South Africa has described the situation in Nomzamo as a humanitarian disaster.

"We have come to see how we can be of assistance to the women and children, particularly in this kind of weather."

SANRAL 'UNFAIRLY BLAMED'

The road agency believes it is being unfairly blamed for the violent evictions which have sparked widespread condemnation.

It has however shifted the blame to the City of Cape Town.

Sanral's Vusi Mona says, "We are being unfairly blamed, people are pointing fingers at us. The mandate that we have, according to the Sanral Act, is to plan design, build and maintain roads. That's the mandate that we have. Anything outside of that is not the mandate of Sanral."

At the same time, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says it's regrettable that Sanral has moved to evict people as a harsh cold front hits the country.

But the situation has been turned into a blame game.

De Lille has expressed concern over the debacle.

"It's regretful the evictions are during winter and that Sanral waited until now to actually carry out the court order. But there is a court eviction order for Sanral and we will be talking to them about how to find an amicable solution."